James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
Classical's Grammy Winners Include a Tie, 'Daughtery: Tales of Hemingway'
Monday, February 13, 2017 - 07:21 AM
Classical music and the Grammy awards have a brow-raising relationship. At most ceremonies in recent memory the telecast has become a pop-oriented affair. While that’s fine — pop music needs it due, too — the fact that Georg Solti holds the records for most Grammy awards won is a still a standard trivia go-to. Also in the top five? Pierre Boulez and Vladimir Horowitz. That’s good company. The point is, even if classical music doesn’t get a certain prime time love, its recipients of what many consider to be music’s most prestigious honor still bear mention.
The Los Angeles Opera’s 2015 recording of Corigliano: The Ghosts Of Versailles, John Corigliano’s 1991 opera within an opera about the out-of-sorts ghost of Marie Antoinette, picked up awards for both Best Opera Recording and Best Engineered Album, Classical. Blanton Alspaugh, the Ghosts producer, was also nominated for Producer of the Year, Classical. That award instead went to David Frost, who had quite the year producing albums full of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms Material. He also produced Ildar Abdrazakov and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti. While that album didn’t win any awards, another Shostakovich — Under Stalin's Shadow - Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9 won Best Orchestral Performance. Andris Nelsons' Boston Symphony Orchestra present a musical exploration of Shasti’s creative output during the height of Stalinist terror in the arts.
Best Choral Performance went to the Krystof Penderecki and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, bolstered by bass Nikolay Didenko, mezzo-soprano Agnieszka Rehlis and soprano Johanna Rusanen. The honored work, Penderecki Conducts Penderecki contains a visceral, eschatological meditation on the victims of World War I (Dies Illa) and his 1958 Psalms of David for mixed choir and percussion. The award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance went to Steve Reich, the latest album by Third Coast Percussion a collection of the percussion music of, well, Steve Reich.
Ties are rare at the Grammys. Last night the 23rd tie in Grammy history was announced, when Schumann & Berg (Dorothea Röschmann) and Shakespeare Song (Ian Bostridge) split the honors for Best Classical Vocal Solo Album.
But it was Michael Daugherty who really cleaned up in the classical field. Daugherty: Tales Of Hemingway, led by soloist Zuill Bailey and Giancarlo Guerrero’s Nashville Symphony, it won the award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo and Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Daugherty: Tales Of Hemingway, American Gothic; Once Upon A Castle, also took top honors for Best Classical Compendium.
We’d like to know your thoughts on the winners, nominees and classical music at the Grammys in general.